Sunday, February 24, 2008

#7 White whale

"White could be associated with horror. The famous chapter 42 ("The Whiteness of The Whale") of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick speculates about it." (Wikipedia).

Two weeks ago a friend phoned me to tell me the Westvleteren 8º was going into sale at the Saint Sixtus abbey. He arranged the appointment, because it's very hard to get through the phone. With a business phone it is possible to dial the same number until it is connected. To my surprise I could collect my beer the next day.

I thought my white I.C.E.R.C. Gulfman was a good companion for the trip. I.C.E.R.C. stands for International Cetacean Education Research Centres. Every year Casio releases one or more models to promote this network.

The GW-9100 Gulfman was first released in 2007. It was an updated model of the DW-9700 Gulfman of 1999. Also a G-9100 was released. Both models are rust resist, but the GW-9100 does not have the Moonphase and Tidegraph. In stead of that it has a 5 band Waveceptor function and it is Tough solar.

The I.C.E.R.C. models are always released as limited editions. In the beginning they were often clear jelly, but later bright colors (blue, yellow and red) were used. The past few years these models are white. The titanium back shows the logo of the 2007 convention.

White seems not always to be associated as a masculine color. I personally wear the watch with great pleasure and have gotten a lot of great remarks about this watch.

In the past year white G-Shocks are also adopted wide in the US and Japanese Hip Hop scene. Frankly this is not always my favorite music, but I think it proves white is a nice color to let yourself be seen with.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nice day. Wrist shots.

We G-Shockers like taking pictures of our watches.

The sun was out. The temperature rose above 10 degrees. And I needed a pic or two for the "Friday What You Wearing?" thread on the G-Shock forum at

So here's a few of me riding home from work, wearing February's GW-1400DA of course. And for those of you who don't know what I look like, I took a quick pic for the panda portrait group on as well.

See you soon!

Monday, February 18, 2008

GW-1400DA review.

I briefly introduced February's G-Shock for the month, the GW-1400DA, but here's a more in depth review.

The first thing I noticed about this watch is that it is big and shiny. I've been used to G-Shocks on resin bands so my first metal G-Shock was a real eye opener. Some G-Shocks impress you with their size; some with their colour; but this one catches your eye with the glint off its stainless steel bracelet and bright metal bezel.

Another attention grabber is the analog dial and hands. If you mention G-Shock, most people will automatically come up with "digital watch". This one is a combination analog/digital watch. The big hands and dial are suplemented by three tiny lcd window subdials. These subdials handle all the features on this watch other than telling the time. Well, they tell the time, too.

The centre sub dial does most of the work. It displays time in hours and minutes, seconds, month date, day, battery charge level, world time (30 cities in 29 time zones), alarm, stopwatch, hand setting mode, atomic time signal reception, daylight savings mode, and automatic illumination mode. That's a lot of functions, and information for one tiny sub dial.

The sub dial to the left indicates alarm on, hourly time signal, power save mode, and charge battery. The subdial on the right is a 10 second counter.

Two other big features of this watch are its solar powered battery and the atomic time signal reception.

Exposing this watch to any light source charges its battery and it can run aproximately nine months under generally light use from a full charge. Of course wearing this watch will expose it to light constantly charging the battery keeping it running for the life of the battery. However Casio doesn't really say how long that is.

Three times a day, in the early morning, this watch will attempt to calibrate itself to a radio signal broadcast by the National Institute of Standards and Technology from Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. By resetting to the correct time daily, the already very accurate quartz movement (+/- 15 seconds per month) is even more accurate.

Casio has placed two LED lights at the 3:00 and 9:00 position to allow viewing in dark conditions. These are very bright and light up the whole face of the watch. In fact they are so bright, they can light up a dark room for a few seconds while they are on. Auto illumination is a mode where the LEDs can be activated by turning the watch towards your face so as to read it. This consumes a lot of power and isn't really recommended for G-Shocks run on regular batteries, but being solar powered, auto illumination isn't a problem for this model.

To compliment the LEDs the hands and four markers at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 are lumed. This lume seems quite bright after being charged up , but does fade quite quickly. The LED lamps actually make this lume unnecessary but it is a nice feature if you want to save battery power, or do not want your watch lighting up every time you check it in the dark.

In regular light this watch is very legible. I've been noticing how quickly I can make note of the time with a quick glance at the dial. The finish on the hands and the colour of the dial work together to make the hands really pop out, especially at an angle as if one were catching a quick glimpse of the watch.

I was quite surprised at how comfortable the bracelet is after it was sized to my wrist. It is a bit of a hair puller, but I've only noticed that infrequently. It has a combination brushed/polished finish that complements the watch head. It feels solid and substantial and balances the watch on the wrist. The braclet is held closed by a push button signed deployment.

When I held the watch for the first time there was a bit of dissapointment. Being a metal G-Shock, I was expecting the whole watch head to be made out of metal. But it is a combination of plastic and metal with the bottom half being plastic and the top half mostly metal. The two materials are different visually with the metal being polished the plastic a matte grey. This look is picked up in the bracelet, but where the bracelet is all metal and feels substantial in the hand, the watch head feels tinny, almost cheap depending on how I hold it. Now I know this is a G-Shock, and therefore tough by definition but I was expecting something more from the looks of this watch. However, even the more expensive G-Shocks share this composite construction and in daily use it doesn't make any difference in performance.

Did I mention this watch is thick? It's thick. And that combined with built in face protectors means the dial is waaaay down there. The face protectors also cut off the top or bottom of the dial depending on how you're looking at the watch. In fact, it took me some time to realize that there is a lumed marker at 6:00 as at regular viewing angles it is impossible to see.

I wasn't sure about this watch at first. I bought it because I liked its looks and atomic and solar features. But the sub dials took away from the looks, I thought. And the plasticky feel was turning me off. But I knew I was wearing it for a month so I had to go ahead and live with it. But living with it hasn't been a chore, as I've grown to like the middle sub dial and tolerate the other two. And as mentioned, the composite construction of the head hasn't been a issue. I love the rest of the watch's looks and especially its legibility. I know I'll miss it in March.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

#6 Big is Beautiful

This morning I woke up with Mika's Big Girls are Beautiful. If I love big women.... I love big watches, that's for sure. When I opened the bedroom curtains, I looked at my small collection alarm clocks. I sold a big part of that collection a few years ago. My girlfriend Eva doesn't like alarm clocks. When we lived in a student house she hated it when there were 20 or more alarm clocks ticking everywhere. One night I couldn't find them anymore. They were all put under cushions of the chairs and couch. Let me spare you the details of my huge clock radio collection piled up in my student room...

Where were we.... My alarm clocks. I wound them all up this morning, just because I love to hear. One of them unfortunately stopped after a few seconds. I took it downstairs and opened it for some maintanance. The clock (manufacturer is Westclox, Scotland) is called Baby Ben. A little bit of lubrication did wonders. It's happy ticking behind my desk while I write my weekly post.
It was Sunday again and I looked in my Drawer what to put on my wrists today. With the song of Mika still in my head, I put the GL-100V on my wrist. This G-Shock is of the G-Lide series. The watches of this series are made for street and water sports like skateboarding and surfing. The past few years mode G-Lide models seem to be made specially for surfing.

I have no idea what the original purpose of this model was. I think it was a skateboard model. The double velcro watchband has the thick type of elastic band. Although it does not irritate in water, it dries slower than with a double Velcro watchband with two nylon bands .

I bought this watch in 2002, I wore it in a class experiment. In a moment of silence I heard a student whisper to another: "Check that watch... It's huge!"

And indeed, it's a big G-Shock, but actually I don't think it's much bigger than a basic DW-6900. The way the accents are made between the maroon and black parts make it appear bigger. It's a bit like the head of Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode 1 "The Phantom Menace". He appears also bigger due to the red and black accents in his face.

This G-Shock has a very unique strap actually. Normal double Velcro watchbands are lead through adaptors. This strap is attached to the case. There is a loose end on the upper band that is stuck through the buckle. A piece of Velcro keeps that loose end on it's place. A retainer secures the loose end for accidental loss.

The strap retainer has a nice detailed G embroid on it. Like all double Velcro watchbands, this one is also very comfortable.

This version is in maroon. I love that color (it is called Bordeaux red or wine red in my language). Actually my first 2 G-Shock's were in the same color (only a shade more red and lighter). I also have a grey/black version, a dark green/black model and an awesome fluorescent red/black model. They are not easy to find anymore and I don't think I got one really cheap (except for the green/black version, but that one had a complete life before it landed in G-Peopleland).
If you like Big Gs I recommend to look for one in your collection. Enjoy your Gs! Enjoy 50Gs!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

#5 First sunny day...

Today was exceptional good weather for this time of year. It should be winter, but the thermometer reached about 16ºC. Since it has been grey for a lot of weeks and it weekend, everyone goes outside. I took my bike out of the shed. I took it for a ride to Vlissingen (Flushing).
I strapped on my GW-9000. It was put away in a dark drawer for a long time, so it was time for it to see the sunlight. I was really pleased to see it on my wrist again.

I bought a special light system for my bike, but frankly I haven't used it much. It has been too stormy and wet in autumn. I must start to get into shape again. I only rode 20km today, but I have smelled the tracks already...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

#4 Sloughing of the G-Viper

The G-Viper series were launched June 2003 . All models have a colored LCD. The resin parts are in some kind of grey tone, mixed with the color tone of the display.

Somewhere in spring 2004 a student of me was looking for a G-Shock for his Birthday. I had some spare time and we browsed the internet. At Eblazeon (unfortunately does not exist anymore) we found this great G-2300GH of the G-Viper series. I believe it cost around $80.- at that time. His mother, who happens to be one of my bosses, loved the idea, so about a month later he was walking around in his G-Viper. It had an amber display and the resin parts were brown/grey. Very nice.

The only G-2300GH I saw later for sale was sold just minutes before...
About two weeks ago a friend of me mailed me he was cutting in his G-Shock collection and thought about parting his G-5600GH. If I was interested. A few days later I found the package on my computer desk.

I had made some made a wrist shot last Friday and I soon after that I got the message the bezel and straps were black. Well, that was right. I also got the original straps with it, but didn't had the time to get the originals back on it again.

Sunday. I wake up and have to remove the glasses, bottles and bowls from the table. I threw in a "Mustard party" yesterday. I found a very rare delicious hot mustard last week in Ghent. I take out my "moodymann" CD out of the DVD player. I found out that there was only one for sale on eBay, when I sought for Silent Introduction (found one cheap on eBay).

Back to the Viper. I removed the bezel (photo below) and straps.

Meanwhile the rest of the family joins me at the table to peel home grown hazelnuts for muffins.

Often I forget where the straps need to be put back on the case, but always remember the loose strap must point upwards after fastening.

All screws back in place. One feels naked without a watch, so I slipped on my I.C.E.R.C. Gulfman temporarily. I look funny with that long hair. It's the first time since 1991 I let it grow again....
When I attached the straps and bezel, the watch looked different indeed. Although the grey tone is very dark, it looks somewhat greenish brownish. I like that very much.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


G-Shock number two is an ani-digi with some nice features. But we should talk about February first.
When I asked my wife which watch I should choose for this month she said it had to be the red one. Well I'm saving the red one for something different, and I just recently received this one from a seller on ebay. And seeing that the chapter ring is red I knew it would be okay.
I discovered this model when a poster on the Watchuseek G-Shock forum was asking about the availability of a solar charged, atomic time signal receiving G-Shock that looked "classy" or "dressy". He was also looking for something "squarish". I did a bit of searching and came up with this. I liked the looks of it so much I decided to buy it. Thanks again, Watchuseek forum.
Oooh, look! It's the same case as Sjors'.
I'm going to wear it awhile before giving it a review. But so far I do like this watch a lot.

"Lume" shot.